herald

Saturday 23 September 2017

Mayo and Meath can get through tricky qualifier assignments

Mayo’s Cillian O’Connor
Mayo’s Cillian O’Connor

This weekend sees a clatter of 'last chance saloon' games in the qualifiers and there is also a Connacht final on Sunday to look forward to.

The pick of the qualifiers sees Mayo travel to Ennis to play a very well organised and ambitious Clare team.

This is a game that could be a year defining game for both counties, as Mayo continue their rehab after their provincial loss to Galway and Clare look to take a big scalp.

It is a very difficult place to go and get a result and this Clare team have some fine young players who will relish this opportunity.

Good run

They had a very good run last year and are probably getting Mayo at a good time but nevertheless it will take a huge performance to get a victory.

Mayo are stuttering along and haven't really performed at the levels they demand of themselves all season.

A poor league followed by another defeat to Galway in the championship and a desperate performance at times against Derry last weekend wouldn't inspire confidence going forward.

But they are still a great group of talented players who just need to find that spark.

A good performance tomorrow would give them continued momentum and a possible run out at headquarters for the next round and I fancy them to find a way to win this one.

The other big game is taking place in Navan, where Meath host a young Donegal team that will arrive with plenty of confidence and will feel that they have enough to get through this one.

The Meath management and players will certainly be feeling the pressure and will be very aware that a slip-up tomorrow would end what will be considered a disappointing season.

It takes time to build something meaningful and despite the loss to Kildare, Meath have done a lot of things this year that would suggest they are on the right path. Home advantage can be the difference in the qualifiers so it's Meath for me by the odd score or two.

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